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My Home, My Prison

Updated on May 17, 2011

The sun was shining, deceivingly illuminating and casting tiny shadows that appeared harmless. The day beckoned me to join in, to shed my protective layers and relax in its warmth. As I peered from my window I saw many who had heeded the call and were busily going about their ways. They seemed unharmed, oblivious to any malice that might lay in wait. There were even children, another factor in my decision, surely children would not be allowed out if it were a place of danger. I could see flowers in the yard just across the way; yellow, pink, red,a kaleidoscope of beauty so vivid I could almost smell their fragrance.

I looked around the solitude of my home and longed for a few words from another human, even a nod. I imagined the warmth of the sun resting on my face, warming my mouth into a smile. And so, timidly, I opened the door and stepped out onto the stairs that lead to the main sidewalk beyond.

Immediately an enormous black haze engulfed me and held me in its grip laughing and gloating over the cruel deception it had used to bring me into captivity. It squeezed my chest so that my heart could barely beat. It drenched me with its foul liquid that beaded on my brow and traveled the full length of my body causing my clothes to cling tightly and further attempt to smother me. As I tried to turn and escape back into my home the paralysis began in my legs and was traveling upward. With all of my will I stretched my arm outward and my hand found the doorknob which I was miraculously able to turn. I pulled and pulled to free myself from the quicksand that was trying to drown me and with a mighty thud, I was lying on the floor inside my home. I used my weak legs to push at the door and it slammed shut, freeing me completely from what had almost been my demise.

Too shaky to stand, I crawled to the sofa and clawed my way up onto to it, grasping at the pillows and throw, pulling all of it around me and over me, building my fortress. I lay, who knows for how long, until my breath came more easily and my heart had stopped racing.

Once my strength had returned, I approached the window by sliding along the wall until I could reach the shade and quickly pulled it down to its customary length, shutting out the lies and trickery of the out-of-doors. I turned on the lamp and the only light I needed came on instantly, reassuring me I was where I belonged.

Author’s note:

Agoraphobia is a crippling anxiety disorder that has been portrayed brilliantly in the film “Copy Cat”, starring Sigourney Weaver.

While the character in this film has a most severe case of this disorder, I have chosen it as an example because there are so many reports of Agoraphobia in which it is defined as an abnormal fear of being in a situation from which escape may be difficult or embarrassing that is often characterized by panic or anticipated anxiety. Also as an abnormal fear of being in open places, crowds or public places. Somehow, I find those explanations lacking. I’m certain there are hundreds of people whose symptoms are accurately described by those definitions, however for those of us who have suffered the full force of “Hurricane Agie” as I have named my tormentor, I have written this article and refer you to the movie for a more accurate view of what Agoraphobia can be. I am thrilled and blessed to report that I am currently almost symptom free and fall more closely into the categories you will most typically find if you look for a definition. I do not, however, forget that it can return as easily and unexpectedly as a spring shower and that knowledge leaves a place in my soul that has healed over with a scar but will never be forgotten.

Comments

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  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR

    Poohgranma 

    7 years ago from On the edge

    Thanks to you MT for reading and I am so happy for you that you have been able to overcome your Panic Attacks. I think that, as it is with any illness, the more quickly it is dealt with, the better the chances it will not to become as deeply rooted.

  • Minnetonka Twin profile image

    Linda Rogers 

    7 years ago from Minnesota

    You do such a great job using this story to explain a person's perspective of agroraphobia. In my mid twenties I was struggling with severe panic attacks that had me thinking I wouldn't be able to go out because it was so painful for me. I still went out but it was tough and eventually, after some talk therapy, my panic attacks lessened as well as the fear of going out. I feel so lucky. I still deal with anxiety but not consistently like in the past. Awesome job Pooh:)

  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR

    Poohgranma 

    7 years ago from On the edge

    It can be most annoying can't it?

  • stars439 profile image

    stars439 

    7 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

    Describes a condition that I do not think is a stranger. Wonderful hub, and details are fantastic. GBY.

  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR

    Poohgranma 

    7 years ago from On the edge

    Thanks to you for reading!

  • fucsia profile image

    fucsia 

    7 years ago

    very emphatic and touching hub. Thanks for sharing.

  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR

    Poohgranma 

    7 years ago from On the edge

    Yes, that is about where mine is too Micky. There are situations and places where I can push myself to go ... but even those not on a consistent basis. One day I will be able to run errands, most usually when the cupboards are completely bare, other times my husband has to run to the little grocer here in town and pay an arm and a leg for enough to get us by. I was able to go to Grandparent's Day at the local kindergarten but missed one of my granddaughter's birthdays that was held at the skating rink. It is still better than it was at one time and I am thankful for that!

  • Micky Dee profile image

    Micky Dee 

    7 years ago

    Beautiful. I too suffer from agoraphobia. Most people cannot tell. I only go out for bike rides and "missions" like buying food. I can "push" myself out easier than a lot. But I have dealt with this, really, all my life. I just deal with things and sometimes "things" are too heavy. God bless you dear.

  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR

    Poohgranma 

    7 years ago from On the edge

    I'm so glad to hear that and to "see" you. I've missed you being around!

  • profile image

    lisa.bom 

    7 years ago

    You captured it so well. I was in this deep hole for a period of time not too long ago. I still have a lot of anxiety when I go out. But It's great to smell the flowers.

  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR

    Poohgranma 

    7 years ago from On the edge

    LOL, no Doug, we aren't out and about that often. You have to watch for us like a rare bird ....LOL

  • profile image

    Doug Turner Jr. 

    7 years ago

    You certainly capture the essence of that fear in your short story here. I'll have to check out the movie sometime; sounds interesting. I've never known anyone personally who suffers from this disorder -- but, then again, they aren't exactly out and about much are they? Good write, poohgranma.

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